Friday, 12 February 2016
Thursday, 11 February 2016
The CEO of Google's salary package is £138 million. Google has entered an agreement with HMRC to pay £130 million in tax for the past 10 years.
GAP has not paid tax at all in the UK since 2011. The minimum wage in the UK is £6.70. The average wage is £26,500 pa.
Junior doctors are on strike, they are being asked to work 24/7 under conditions that effectively cut their pay.
Something is wrong with what we value and how it is rewarded.
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Monday, 8 February 2016
Sunday, 7 February 2016
… I didn’t know that I did actually though until The Doll came home with a Morgan Price infographic that rather helpfully shows the average price of a meal using a selection of London’s tube stations as reference points. Zoom in on a tube station and you'll see what I mean. She said “let’s see if we can find the best value for money in central London Ted”. I immediately knew exactly where we would go. Yes, dear readers we would go to one of my personal favourites located between the Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden tubes.
Rossodisera (sunset?) in Monmouth Street is the pride and joy of friends Samuele and Igor, and a tribute to all things authenticate and delicious which they import directly from their favourite producers in their home region of Le Marche in Italy. Situated in the middle of Italy, Le Marche has the beautiful Adriatic Sea on one side and joins up inland with several regions in the Italian hinterland - its more famous neighbours being Tuscany and Umbria. The restaurant frontage is very unassuming and from the street looks like a typical little Italian deli with a small number of tables occupied by people who always look like they are having a good time. The “diner happiness factor” is a top Ted indicator when choosing a restaurant.
The Doll and I were given a table downstairs where the kitchen is and proceeded to pour over the menu while breathing in all the delicious smells and eyeing up the wine collection. They have a set menu which is exceptional value for money at £13.90 for 2 courses and £17.90 for 3 courses. In the interests of research naturally I would have chosen off that menu if the Doll hadn’t said “Ted let’s have the Salumi e Fromaggi platter of cured meats and local cheeses with honey and preserves and that delicious home-made bread, and then I’m having the mushroom and truffle pasta because they do it properly with butter and parmesan cheese and no cream”. Ah ok why not – so for my main I chose lamb chops with casseroled whole artichokes and some (Italian naturally) oven roasted tomatoes with basil on the side.
Everything was in balance, fresh, clean, earthy, sweet, and salty, all playing harmoniously together in your mouth, complimented beautifully by a wine made from a local grape Vernaccia Nera. This grape is actually known by many names in different places - the Spanish call it Garnacha and claim it as their own, and in Sardegna (Sardinia) it’s known as Cannonau and naturally they refute the Spanish claim. I know this much – I like the version that comes from Le Marche and I know you’ll love Rossodiserra and the fabulous Italian hospitality they will show you.
Saturday, 6 February 2016
Lumas Gallery have launched a series of fabulous postcard size photos bonded in acrylic. They have a unique hook on the back which is also a magnet. Hang on the wall or stick all over your fridge, get a group and make a mosaic (like in the picture above).
Check out some of the fun and quirky ready to hang images they are currently selling.
Oh and the cakes, they were made by Konditor and Cook! (Remember Ted's favourite mince pies). Yum.
Friday, 5 February 2016
In the late 19th century Gin Palaces (posh pubs) were very fashionable places to frequent, and gin was even attributed with medicinal properties. This beautifully decorated pub in Holborn is once again specialising in gin but it also has a dark secret below stairs.
It was common practice for prisoners to be buried in and around the area, perhaps it is some of these poor souls who do not rest whose ghostly forms haunt the old Gin Palace. John or is it George? No one knows for sure, plays havoc moving barrels around. Then there is the prostitute whose favourite pastime is to open the fire escape door from inside the toilet (there is no handle on that side of the door or any way to open it) and toss rolls of toilet paper across the floor of the basement.
The pub was one of the first in England to have electricity, but it was very unreliable. One particular evening when the lights had gone out the landlady and a staff member went down stairs with a candle to sort the problem out. The door slammed shut behind her, a colleague heard her scream and raced to her assistance. She had passed out, but when she came to she told of how her candle blew out, then she felt a warm breathe on the back of her neck and a hand across her mouth. She resigned two days later!
On my visit I too experienced the door slam behind me in this cell like room. I suspect the staff member who was showing me around and laughing, had something to do with that. However it is very dark and eerie in here. No wonder I needed a wee gin to recover!
Thursday, 4 February 2016
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city is St Etheldreda's Church dating from about 1250 making it the oldest catholic church in England.
The church is named after Etheldreda who was born in 630, the daughter of King Anna of East Anglia. She is attributed with freeing the bondsmen on her lands and generally being really popular with people at the time. Her body was moved twice, the latter time 450 years after her death, when her body was found perfectly preserved it simply added to her saintly persona.
Among the saints and history are rituals and traditions (of course it is a catholic church after all) one such event is held on the 3rd of February, the ritual of "Blessing of the Throats."
Hey a cure for the common cold! Well no I'm afraid not. The tale appears to be born out of an event by Saint Blaise. Well he wasn't a saint to begin with, that honour came after the miracles. During the religious wars he was thrown into prison to rethink his religion. While he was in there he "miraculously cured" a young boy who was choking on a fish bone. Seems he was pretty good at treating throat ailments, so once a year he is called upon to treat ailments of the throat.
With the number of people coughing in London at present he has his work cut out for him.
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Monday, 1 February 2016
Sunday, 31 January 2016
…no sadly that’s not a euphemism for me having lost weight … rather that this week I had the pleasure of attending the Great Sausage Roll Off 2016. A woman (who was not the Doll) and who shall remain anonymous (Bernadette) accompanied me on the long and arduous overland journey by train and foot to the Red Lion Pub in the quaint and rather chichi London riverside suburb of Barnes for the competition.
The brain child of the pubs co-manager Angus McKean, the great Sausage Roll Off is in now in its 4th year, and this year it was raising money for the Shooting Star Chase – a children’s hospice charity. The evening was compered by the incomparable Melissa Cole SommALEier and the offerings were judged by a panel of four comprising of two professional chefs and two professional eaters (my dream job).
Naturally I did a bit of research on the origins of the sausage roll before I went and discovered something quite amazing. Sausage rolls are so ubiquitous to the UK, Europe and the Commonwealth that nobody can really say where and when they arrived – they just always seem to have been around, and no party table or picnic basket is complete without them. However, it wasn't until late 2015 that the New York Times decided to introduce them to the USA apparently (can this be true America??)!!
Pretty much everyone agrees that they are ground seasoned meat (usually pork) wrapped in puff pastry and baked to a lovely golden colour, to be eaten hot or cold. Armed with that vast background knowledge we made up a scoring regime of texture, taste and look, and settled in for the offerings that were to come our way over the evening. A sausage roll in the hands of chefs and their imagination becomes a multi-splendid thing that can range from wild duck and rhubarb, smoked pork belly with rum syrup bacon, rabbit leg with braised salsify and walnut, and Japanese beef tartare in brioche, all the way to haggis supper with curry sauce.
Of course I wasn't an official judge but nevertheless I took my task seriously and looked and sniffed and tasted and made “it’s delicious but is it really and truly holding to the essence of sausage roll tradition” or “this one’s got a soggy bottom” pronouncements. We got to the end of heat 3 and I was delighted with how I had paced myself and was looking forward to the final judging and the results, when Bernadette duly informed me that there was indeed another heat to go and the reason I didn’t realise that was because my heat 4 sheet of paper had become stuck to the back of the heat 3 sheet with sauce, bits of filling, and flakes of pastry, and the rest was on my face and my jumper.